Re: A different definition of MINUS, Part 3

From: Cimode <>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 03:53:20 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On 21 déc, 02:03, paul c <> wrote:
> Bob Badour wrote:
> > paul c wrote:
> >> Bob Badour wrote:
> >> ...
> >>> Dijkstra wrote an EWD where he explained why programming in a second
> >>> language has advantages.
> >> Did Cobol have a French dialect when he wrote that?
> > Are you aware of Dijkstra's position on Cobol?
> Thanks, no, I'll take a look.  My question sounded good to me when I
> wrote it, I'm not so sure now!

BB refers to the fact that Dijkstra's position on Cobol was almost (impossibly worse) similar to the one he had on Basic. He considered that the language itself prevented the possibility of establishing a clean algorythmics.

Besides the humoristic and caricatural undertone behind BB's remark and more seriously, Id suggest that non native english speakers learning a programming language designed by and for english native speaking audiences, necessarily must learn it, in an analytical way, since their cultural background does not allow them to immediately associate a word to the operation it is supposed to represent.

Being French, when I discovered (please don't ask when) the instruction PRINT, I saw P-R-I-N-T long before my mind could associate to the PRINT operation. In the learning process of mapping the operation and semantics,the handicap of not being a native english speaker, forced me to understand the grammar of the language before learning its semantics. Which is why I believe your remark is very valid.

In a word, the learning process behind a language is conditionned by the cultural background of the programmer. A non native programmer will necessarily put more emphasis on grammar while a native programmer will put more emphasis on the language semantics. I would go further as assuming that focus on grammar makes more appearant the incoherences between the language and the algebric concepts it is supposed to represent, but that is a step I am not ready to take or prove.

Regards.. Received on Sun Dec 21 2008 - 12:53:20 CET

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